N-Line Technologies takes a probing look at how Microsoft Office 365 addresses the cyber-security concerns of small business owners like Bryce McDonald, whose company, Day1 Wake, delivers wakesurf boards to customers across the country. Bryce knows that, wherever he goes, Office 365 multi-layer security is working 24/7 to safeguard the integrity of his business data. Contact us–we’d love to show you how Office 365 can do the same for businesses in Midland, Odessa, and the Permian Basin.
In this video, N-Line Technologies explores how Office 365 works overtime to safeguard the business data of entrepreneurs like Bryce McDonald, owner/operator of Day1 Wake, a company that makes wakesurf boards for customers around the world. While giving Bryce unprecedented freedom and flexibility, Office 365 provides multiple layers of security, which Microsoft monitors 24/7. Contact us to learn how Office 365 can do the same for you. 432-279-0671
The 31st of March is World Backup day and it’s a great time to put a backup in place. Businesses are losing huge amounts of data every day, purely because ‘backing up’ is stuck at the bottom of their to-do list. So this is your reminder, that even if you only do this once a year when the calendar tells you to, it’s time to flip that to-do list and make it happen! But how? What’s the easiest, most effective way for your business to backup?
You’ve probably heard of file backup by a number of names: Cloud Sync, Cloud Backup or Cloud Storage. They’re all similar enough to be confusing and meaningless enough to be anything. Here’s what they mean and which one you need today.
Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, etc are services that sync up with a single folder on your computer. They mirror it. When a file changes in one, the sync service rushes to change it on your computer too, so they are always the same. Cloud Sync services are hugely flexible for remote employees, or even those squeezing in a few quick tasks while riding the train to work. They’re ridiculously easy to use, require no training, and the free tiers are enough for most individuals. This all sounds amazing, right? Except…when things go wrong, they go wrong big time. Accidentally deleting a file means it disappears from the Cloud Sync drive – almost immediately. Overwriting a file does the same thing, and if an employee makes edits to the wrong file, then those edits are there to stay. If disaster strikes and your local copy becomes corrupted (or ransomed), well you guessed it, the corruption is uploaded too. While some Cloud Sync services now offer a 30 day backup option, you may not notice the file was missing within this time.
Cloud Sync services are fantastic for productivity and accessing files on the go, but they simply can’t be relied on as your backup tech.
Amazon S3, Microsoft Azure, etc are massive buildings full of storage drives that work just like your local hard drive, except you access them securely via the internet. In fact, when you use a cloud sync app like Dropbox, they’re actually sending your data to one of these locations. While the sync services have a constant back and forth connection between the storage center and your folder, and as explained above aren’t good for backup, you have another option. You can access cloud storage on a per/GB basis yourself and upload your entire backup as desired. It won’t update with changes on your local network, but it will be safe from disaster. When you need to retrieve a file, you simply login and download it.
Your backed up data is secure, protected against disaster, and always available to you. However, because it relies on you/your employee to handle the backup plan and manually take care of the uploads, this is a high-risk solution. Unless your employee is scouring your network each day/week/month for changes to files and uploading them with fervent dedication, chances are this plan won’t work. We recommend an automated or outsourced solution so you can get on with business AND be protected.
Carbonite, Backblaze backup, Crashplan, etc might not be names you’ve heard before, but they work in the background to monitor changes to files on your computer or network and make sure you’re backed up. You can roll back individual files or whole drives, and even select from earlier backups, not just one. Like sync services, they use cloud storage centers with extra-high security and redundancy so that your data is always there when you need it. Even better, neither you nor your employees need to worry about when it was last done.
The One You Need
Let’s take a moment to talk planning. We recommend starting with the 3-2-1 strategy. This means having 3 copies in total, 2 of them locally such as on your computer and an external drive, and another offsite in the cloud. Using this strategy keeps your business operating when data disasters occur and is an investment in your uptime. We can help get you set up with the 3-2-1 method, including selecting the best cloud service for your needs. If you’re looking for a more scalable, cost-effective solution that gives the utmost peace of mind, ask about our managed backups service.
Need help with your backup? 3-2-1… Call us at 432-279-0671!
Severe design flaws in modern CPUs were recently discovered and made public. These flaws put users and businesses alike at risk of attacks known as Spectre and Meltdown, where private data can be called up and stolen. Chip manufacturers including Intel and ARM have responded by working with software developers to correct the flaws, however, these fixes are affecting computer performance.
In this whitepaper, you will discover exactly how this vulnerability works, how you’ll be impacted, and what you can do to protect your systems
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In our FREE whitepaper you will:
- Discover how this vulnerability works
- How you'll be impacted
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The online con artists and hackers will be lining up in droves for this one. And hitting your email mailbox hard.
On Thursday the Credit Reporting Bureau, Equifax reported that they have suffered a massive data breach in which 143 million Americans have had their credit data stolen. This information includes Social Security Numbers, Drivers License numbers and most of your basic account information on file with the credit bureau. The potential for abuse should be obvious. Crooks can take this information and steal your identity to create credit card accounts run up massive debts and vanish leaving you with a major mess to clean up.
As this is major news the hackers will, of course, use your fear of credit fraud to trick you into opening virus laden emails in hopes of capturing passwords.
What to do about it?
- Check with Equifax and see if your information is part of the data breach. You can do so at https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/
- Don’t open emails that are warning about Equifax. If you have an account with Equifax use the link above to check your status. NEVER CLICK ON LINKS in an email.
- Update your antivirus. If you don’t have an antivirus get one now.
- Get a good spam filter. We have several spam solutions for your business such as Office 365. Switching your business to Office 365 for email can dramatically reduce your spam and virus risk with the built in protection from Microsoft.
- Use a good ad block program in your web browser. At N-Line we recommend Ublock Origin for Google Chrome.
N-Line Computers can provide full protection for your business with our Managed Services Plans
Contact us today at 432-279-0671 and let us help protect your business.
Remember when spam was obvious, and unless you desperately needed a special blue pill, it was easy to identify and ignore? Those were the days! The impact on your business would have been minimal, as spam was more an annoyance than anything else. Unfortunately, spam has matured into an aggressive threat, marked by sophisticated attacks and rapidly evolving techniques. It’s not just random electronic junk mail anymore and it’s putting a costly strain on your business resources.
How Spam Impacts Your Business
Spam now contains malware, with hackers sending cleverly disguised emails to your business. Once clicked by an employee, it infects your computer system (virus) or steals your private data (phishing). The malware can then spread across the entire computer network and beyond, including to your clients and vendors. The very fact that your employees must pause and examine every single link and attachment adds hours of lost productivity. Occasionally, spam is so convincing that only an expert would be able to visually identify it. Employees are also more likely to miss an important email, either not seeing it arrive at the same time as a spam attack or becoming overwhelmed with the sheer number of emails.
How Anti-Spam Can Save Your Business
- Block threats: The spam filter’s purpose is to block the spam from ever reaching your employees’ screens. The threat is automatically identified and either held securely or immediately deleted. This is the best way to avoid activating spam malware, as it’s so easy to click on links in an email that seem authentic and important. The effects of that one spam click may be instantaneous or may lie hidden for months. Removing the email before it becomes a risk is a much better option.
- Filter legitimate emails: Real mail needs to be able to stand out and avoid the trash. Anti-spam filtering has sophisticated recognition abilities which block spam only and allow real mail to land safely in mailboxes.
- Meet data regulations: Many businesses are subject to strict privacy and data storage regulations, some more so than others. To continue operation, they have to meet conditions including always using spam filtering to reduce the risk of data breach.
- Protect your business reputation: You can see how uncomfortable CEOs are when they hold press conferences to admit a breach. They must acknowledge that they failed to protect client data, or that users may be infected with a virus. Not only do they then face financial loss, their business reputation takes a nosedive. Anti-spam filtering can ensure these types of scenarios don’t happen to you.
Filtering has come a long way in recent years, with complex algorithms identifying and catching spam before it becomes a risk to your business. Real emails can now pass safely through without the classic catch cry of ‘check the spam folder’, and businesses can work with greater productivity and safety than ever before. You need email, but you definitely don’t need spam or the chaos it brings to your business.
We can block spam BEFORE it hits your inbox and keep your legitimate emails flowing.
Contact us or call 432-279-0671 today!
Every employee shares one inescapable flaw that is putting your business at risk.
59% of data breaches can be traced back to something an employee did (or didn’t do), which invited a cyber-attack.
The scam goes like this:
To lock hackers out, build security awareness and respect into your company culture so that maintaining digital security becomes as routine as making coffee.
Use complex passwords: Every employee, including management, needs to use an alphanumeric password that they haven’t used before. Password managers can assist with making sure they’re never forgotten.
Verify unknown identities: Not familiar with ‘Jenny from Accounting’ who has called to ask for sensitive information? Double check caller identity and access permissions before releasing any information. Hackers love to play on our desire to be helpful.
Encrypt by default: People regularly transfer data to a laptop or smartphone so they can work more efficiently. Unfortunately, this equipment can be easily stolen. Set operating systems to encrypt data by default, so that it becomes useless in the wrong hands.
Protect portable devices: Laptops and mobile phones should always require a password and be set to auto-lock after a short period of time. Never leave them unattended in cars, buses, restrooms etc, and take them as carry-on luggage.
Set personal usage rules: While you may have blocked productivity-vacuums such as Facebook, what are the rules regarding games, video streaming or shopping? Can they install their own software? When business computers are used for personal usage, security vigilance tends to slide, resulting in unintentional malware installation.
Educate often: Digital security threats change regularly, and people become comfortable with a certain level of danger, thinking ‘it will never happen to me’. A 5-minute discussion once a month may be the barrier that keeps hackers out.
- Links in emails – Hackers often send emails that look like they are from your bank or similar. Be sure to check the link by hovering over it with your mouse. This is known as ‘phishing’.
- Tech scam popups – Be on the lookout for popups advising that your computer is infected and you need to call a phone number or download software.
- Email attachments – Never open an unknown attachment, and even from people you know and trust, always scan for malware before opening.
If you need help implementing better security practices in your business, give us a call at 432-279-0671.
On June 27, 2017, the “Petya” ransomware strain began spreading widely impacting a large number of organizations, particularly in Europe.
Petya ransomware encrypts the master boot records of infected Windows computers, making affected machines unusable. Open-source reports indicate that the ransomware exploits vulnerabilities in Server Message Block (SMB). It has two layers of encryption: one that individually encrypts target files on the computer and another one that encrypts NTFS structures. This approach prevents victims’ computers from being booted up in a live OS environment and retrieving stored information or samples. Additionally, after the encryption process is complete, the ransomware has a specialized routine that forcefully crashes the computer to trigger a reboot that renders the computer unusable until a $300 ransom is paid.
N-Line Managed Antivirus protects you against this virus attack. For those of you not subscribed to our Antivirus product, you should update your Antivirus immediately and run Windows Update to make sure your system is fully patched and thus protected against the SMB fault that this virus exploits.
If you need assistance please contact us or call 432-279-0671
Working from anywhere is now as simple as accessing the internet on your device. Managers, owners, and employees are all embracing the flexibility of working while traveling, making it the new global norm. But while you were in the office, you were protected by professionally designed firewalls, security infrastructure, and robust software. As soon as you step away from the building, those protections disappear, leaving your device and the data inside at great risk.
Cyber attackers love to collect any data they can obtain, often preferring to hack first, assess value later. It doesn’t help that almost all data can be sold, including your personal details, those of your clients and suppliers, as well as your proprietary business data. These days, the information stored on your device is usually worth much more than the device itself.
Here are 3 ways a hacker will attack:
Flaunting Opportunity: Whether your employee left their laptop at a café or a thief stole the phone from their pocket, the outcome is the same – that device is gone. Hackers will take advantage of any opportunity to gain access to a device, including taking them from hotel rooms and even asking to ‘borrow’ them for a few minutes to install spyware, before handing it back.
Spoofing a Wi-Fi Hotspot: We’ve all come to expect free Wi-Fi networks wherever we go. Hackers will take advantage of this trust to create their own free, unsecure network, just waiting for a traveler to check a quick email.
Intercepting an Unsecure Network: Hackers don’t need to own the Wi-Fi network to steal content from it. Data traveling across an unsecure network is visible and available to anyone with the right software.
It’s okay, you don’t need to lock all employees inside the building or cancel all travel plans. Taking these four precautions will increase cyber safety and help protect your business data while on the go.
- Make a backup before you travel: In the event your device is lost or damaged, you’ll be able to replace the device with a new one and quickly restore all the data from a backup, all with minimal downtime.
- Don’t use public Wi-Fi: Wait until you have access to a secure network before going online – even just to check email.
- Use passwords and encryption: At a minimum, make sure you have a password on your device, or even better, have full drive encryption. That way, even if your data storage is removed from the device, the contents are inaccessible.
- Act fast after loss: If your device is lost or stolen, immediately notify the appropriate people. This might include your IT provider so they can change passwords, your bank so they can lock down accounts, and any staff who need to be aware of the breach so they aren’t tricked into allowing further breaches.
Need help with mobile cyber security? Call us at 432-279-0671
WannaCry Ransomware Explained: Is Your Business At Risk?
You’d be hard-pressed to miss May’s biggest headline, the WannaCry cyber-attack sent shockwaves around the globe. Businesses of all sizes and even police departments found themselves crippled without warning.
Among the most prominent victims were many NHS hospitals in the UK, affecting up to 70,000 individual devices such as essential MRI scanners and blood-storage refrigerators. But by the time it hit the news, it was too late – either your system was protected, or it was infected. Here’s how it all went so wrong.
What is WannaCry?
The WannaCry cyber-attack was a type of malware (the collective name for computer viruses & bad juju) called ‘ransomware’. Just like the name suggests, it’s actually a demand for money. Like all ransomware attacks, WannaCry encrypts your files and holds them hostage until you pay. In this case, the price was set at $300, payable with internet currency Bitcoin, and you had 3 days to pay before it doubled. If you didn’t pay, the ransomware threatened to delete your files permanently. It’s yet unknown how much money the WannaCry hackers have earned with their latest attack, but you can be sure plenty of people have paid the ransom. Even the FBI recommends paying the ransom, especially if the ransomed files are of a sensitive nature or weren’t backed up.
How It Spread So Fast
It seems WannaCry may be a ‘computer worm’ that self-replicates and spreads, rather than a phishing attack that needs to be activated with a click. So far, no common trigger has been identified, as is normally the case with phishing links. WannaCry moved rapidly from system to system, spreading out through the entire network, including all connected backups and storage devices. At the same time, it spread out to infect other networks, who then spread it further, and so on. Given the nature of the internet, it was everywhere within hours.
Why Some Businesses Were Safe
WannaCry could ONLY infect systems that have fallen 2 months behind in their Windows updates. This is because it was created to take advantage of a specific vulnerability in Windows, one which Microsoft patched months ago. Without that patch, the ransomware could waltz right past the firewall, past the anti-virus and directly into the system (the NHS were reportedly running Windows XP – no longer supported). Those running Windows 10 or a fully patched, recent version of Windows were completely unaffected – the virus literally had no way in
It just goes to show the importance of staying up to date. We haven’t seen a second spike in WannaCry attacks yet, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be one. A quick update could protect your business from weeks of downtime and lost revenue, making attacks like this a non-issue.
With our managed services, we can make sure you stay up to date – and protected. Give us a call today at 432-279-0671.